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Never allow others to burden you with unwarranted guilt and shame. You will find your load heavy enough without adding spurious claims of ignominy and sordidness to it.

Toxic Masculinity Vs. Righteous Masculinity


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By —— Bio and Archives October 23, 2017

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Toxic Masculinity Vs. Righteous Masculinity

I first became familiar with the term “toxic masculinity” a couple of years ago, and thought to myself “Oh great, some more post-feminist misandrist bulls—t. Misandry is “the hatred of, contempt for, or prejudice against men or boys.”

But I recently read an article by Maureen Ryan that pulled me up short and allowed me to see the light, so to speak. When Ms. Ryan speaks of “toxic masculinity” she is not referring to masculinity per se, but to a very specific type of masculinity… and I could not agree with her more.

Near the end of her article, which is somewhat lengthy, honest, pointed and powerful, she writes the following:

Believe women. Believe men. Believe survivors. Believe that some people are capable of the worst things. Believe that a percentage of men don’t resist the sexist, abusive conditioning baked into toxic masculinity. Believe that some enjoy inflicting pain and transgressing norms, or all of us coming forward means nothing.

Maureen Ryan “A TV Executive Sexually Assaulted Me: A Critic’s Personal Story

Coming as it does near the end of Ms. Ryan’s list of deplorable male sexist behavior, I can easily see why she considers it “baked into” toxic masculinity.  These reprehensible attitudes and actions appear to be de rigueur in Hollywood (and I know for a fact it exists in many other areas and professional fields as well).

Still, I have a problem with the term “toxic masculinity,” which intentionally or not, gives the impression, the connotation, that masculinity itself is somehow toxic. I have met and known women my entire adult life that I would describe as toxic, and yet the term “toxic femininity” sounds absurd to me.

TOXIC WOMEN

By “toxic” I mean men and women whose attitudes, behaviors, and very being poison the atmosphere around them. They run the gamut from sly, soft purveyors of venomous innuendos and mean-spirited gossip, to sadistic cruel monsters.

Although I would say that, hands down, toxic males outnumber toxic females, there is still no lack of toxic females to go around. Some are just mean-spirited—itches, others are outright haters of men. Some pretty much hate everything, including themselves. I’m no spring chicken, and I’ve been around the world a time or two and know what I am talking about.

In addition to toxic women themselves, there is the indisputable fact that many women are attracted, to one degree or another, to “bad boys.” The genre of female romance novels is not popularly known as “bodice rippers” without reason. And it is commonly accepted that many women find males in positions of power…alluring.

Which is all to say that what is good for the goose is good for the gander—toxicity is not a one-way street, and women have their work cut out for them cleaning up their own toxic spill.

NOT PLAYING THE VICTIM CARD

Women such as Rose McGowan and her ilk are the antithesis of victims. They are brave, inspirational, and praiseworthy. They are also human, with all that implies, so I will not raise any of them on a pedestal…but I do salute their guts, their grit, their courage and impassioned chutzpah. Their cause is righteous and their anger well and truly justified.

I have a few words about playing the victim card though. It can turn out to be an enticing trap. A “poor, poor pitiful me” attitude not only is likely to find scant sympathy from other people, it can all too easily mire one in a morass of victimhood that drags you down and keeps you down.

The majority of the women currently speaking out about the pervasive culture of sexual abuse and harassment are not speaking as victims, however, but as past victims, as survivors. Their victimhood is in the past. Their courage, strength and freedom is in the here and now.

They must (and will, I believe) not allow the extinguishing of the torch that they have lit—or else it is all for naught.

 

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RIGHTEOUS MASCULINITY

I do not consider the deplorable, boorish, shameful, misogynistic behavior described as “toxic masculinity” to be masculine behavior in any way. Granted it is males being discussed, but simply being male does not make one masculine.

But words have different meanings, different connotations, to different people, so rather than try to define “masculinity” I will use the term “righteous masculinity” and describe what I mean by that.

“Righteous” means very good or excellent, and “masculinity” means “possession of the qualities traditionally associated with men.” So “righteous masculinity” means an excellent display of qualities traditionally associated with men.

Yes, I know all about the current brouhaha over gender and whatnot. Permit me to act as if sanity and common sense still held sway in our culture and indulge me for the present.

To me, “excellent qualities” is another way of describing what are termed virtues. Some of the virtues that were once associated with masculinity included, bravery, honor, candor, honesty, grit, fortitude, compassion, strength, integrity, and last but not least, self-respect and respect for others. That barely scratches the surface of all that righteous masculinity entails, but it’s a start.

Please note that boorish, piggish, sexist behavior has no place whatsoever in righteous masculinity.

If you are male then you have no reason to be ashamed of your gender. You have, in fact, every reason to be proud of your maleness. “Toxic masculinity,” that is boorish sexist behavior, is no more ingrained in your DNA than masculine virtues are—they are learned behaviors acquired as the result of benighted or enlightened education.

The acquiring of righteous masculinity is a process—the process of building character. My own experience has been that it is a never-ending process—one that I will leave this world still engaged in. I am still growing, still maturing, still building my character and refining my spirit.

If you are male then the list of illustrious men who share your gender is, of course, rather lengthy: Religion—Jesus Christ, Buddha, Abraham. Philosophy—Aristotle, Plato Socrates. Music—Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin. Medicine—Hippocrates, Pasteur, Salk. Art—Michelangelo, da Vinci, Picasso. Psychologists—Freud, Jung, William James. Inventors—Gutenberg, Edison, Tesla. Musical instrument makers—Stradivari, Steinway, Fender. Authors—Shakespeare, Twain, Dickens. Poets—Blake, Whitman, Frost. Great leaders—Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, George Washington. The list goes on, and on, and on.

My point here is that if you are a young male (white males especially) DO NOT buy into the anti-male misandry being spoon fed you by various venues. It is vile poison intentionally designed to destroy your self-esteem and confuse and disillusion you.

There is a point in the Hindu holy book/story the Bhagavad-Gita where the story’s hero, Arjuna, despairs of ever defeating the forces arrayed against him. His friend and mentor Krishna tells him “Stand up Arjuna! This weakness does not become you.”

On the surface, on the mundane level, the Bhagavad-Gita is the story of a battle between warring armies, on the esoteric level it is the story of the spiritual battles we all face, and Arjuna represents every man. Along with Krishna I shout “Stand up Arjuna!”

Stand up and be the best you that you can be. We should be strong with a wholesome strength, self-respecting with a healthy love, and proud with a humble graciousness.

 

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SEX AND SOMA

In Aldous Huxley’s dystopian novel “Brave New World” society is kept entertained and distracted through the promotion and practice of promiscuous sex and drugs—specifically a drug called “soma.”

“Euphoric, narcotic, pleasantly hallucinant”—that’s what Mustapha says of soma. It’s arguably the best tool the government has for controlling its population. It sedates, calms, and most importantly distracts a person from realizing that there’s actually something very, very wrong—namely, thatthe citizens of the World State are enslaved.

Shmoop “Soma

Between the current opioid epidemic, proliferation of various other drugs, and the tsunami of sex inundating society from various media venues, today’s culture bears more than a passing resemblance to Huxley’s “Brave New World.”

Add to that the fact that the last Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, thinks that George Orwell’s “1984” is a swell template for running the federal government, and one can be forgiven for thinking that the United States is in grave danger of becoming a travesty of what its founders envisioned.

Be that as it may, let me get back on track here. I am nobody’s idea of a sex therapist or personal relationship coach, but I do know this: letting your libido lead you around by your d—k 24/7 has nothing to do with masculinity, and it certainly has nothing to do with righteous masculinity.

An existence that centers around sex and nothing but sex shows a pathetic lack of diversity and balance in a person’s life. The “middle way,” or balance and moderation in all things, is the ideal of righteous masculinity.

A LIFE WITH MEANING

When I was a teenager back in the 1960s I had already figured out that atheism was a losing proposition from the get-go. A life that came from nothing and led to nothing had nothing to offer me—nothing but bleak, pointless nihilism.

I refused to live a meaningless existence, so I went in search of God—a search that I have followed and refined over decades. Like character building, it has been a never-ending process that is ongoing, and I will leave this world still engaged in it.

A righteous masculinity demands some sort of spiritual backbone to it, a bedrock moral foundation upon which to stand. For example, The Book of Psalms, the Synoptic Gospels, John, the Pauline epistles, or Book of James, Buddha’s “Four Noble Truths” and “Eightfold Path,” or don Miguel Ruiz’s simple yet profound “Four Agreements.”

“Situational ethics” won’t cut it. Only a fearless search for Truth will do. I strongly recommend being familiar with Dr. David R. Hawkins’s “Map of Consciousness” (MOC). It can help to clear up numerous questions the spiritual seeker may have.

Looking at the MOC one notes that the concepts of God in the lower levels of consciousness are unappealing, if not downright frightening: Despising, Vindictive, Condemning, Vengeful…. These are concepts of God that I picked up and dropped like hot potatoes long ago.

As one rises in consciousness the attendant concepts of God become much more “user friendly,” and closer to the truth. God becomes: Enabling, Merciful, Inspiring, Loving…. These are concepts of God that can be grasped and surrendered to with a will.

We live in an increasingly secular world—“secular” being a euphemism for Godless or, at best, a weak anemic religiosity. The moral foundation of secularism is built on shifting sand and does not contain the bedrock sturdiness needed to build a righteous masculinity.

In addition, take God out of the equation and the foundation upon which the United States stands crumbles. How can We the People be endowed by our creator with God-given rights (including Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness) if there is no God? Sans God-given rights we are at the mercy of whatever rights human government chooses to give, or take away.

God must forever remain mysterious, ineffable, and unfathomable to our finite minds…but that is not to say that we cannot draw close to God, and we draw closest to God when we love. The ability to be loving, and forgiving, are integral elements of a righteous masculinity.

I will close this segment of the article with a warning to those seeking spiritual truth: Be extremely wary of religious demagogues and cults, lest you find yourself drinking poison Kool-Aid, or committing suicide so as to hitch a ride on a passing spaceship, or some other tragic nonsense.

 

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CONCLUSION

To young males reading this, permit me to point out that in all of eternity you are the only you this universe will ever know—that alone makes you unique and special. More importantly you are an immortal spirit, a child of God, and as such, whether you know it or not, whether you appreciate it or not, you are loved by your Creator—Love without strings attached, unearned and freely given.

You are a divine being temporarily wearing the guise of a male human. Identify with that in you which is eternal and divine, not that which is temporal and temporary.

In order to stay level-headed (an important element of righteous masculinity) it is necessary to acquire a respectful awe toward God and cultivate a willingness to align yourself with God’s will—the essence of true humility.

In closing, never allow others to burden you with unwarranted guilt and shame. You will find your load heavy enough without adding spurious claims of ignominy and sordidness to it. Do your best to be your best, to be the best man that you can be, at any given point along your journey, and you will find yourself closing in on alignment with God’s will for you.

Jim ONeill -- Bio and Archives |

Born June 4, 1951 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Served in the U.S. Navy from 1970-1974 in both UDT-21 (Underwater Demolition Team) and SEAL Team Two.  Worked as a commercial diver in the waters off of Scotland, India, and the United States.  Worked overseas in the Merchant Marines.  While attending the University of South Florida as a journalism student in 1998 was presented with the “Carol Burnett/University of Hawaii AEJMC Research in Journalism Ethics Award,” 1st place undergraduate division.  (The annual contest was set up by Carol Burnett with money she won from successfully suing a national newspaper for libel).  Awarded US Army, US Navy, South African, and Russian jump wings.  Graduate of NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School, 1970).  Member of Mensa, China Post #1, and lifetime member of the NRA and UDT/SEAL Association.

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